Arriving to the campus of the Indianapolis Art Museum by bicycle from the CentralÂ Canal Towpath has long been one of my favorite experiences of living in the city. Unfortunately, in an initiative that started along withÂ their new admission charge, they have disallowed bicycle access to the front door. The path labeled as “Stroller access to 100 Acres” in the map below is now cut off at the top of the hill with gates:
They’ve also blocked the pedestrian and bicycle entrance at 42nd Street, which went over a neat old bridge that crossed an interurban track:
So, without access to the 2 best entries, how are cyclists to enter the museum? I wasn’t sure either, so I looked it up. The webpage confirmed my fears:
INDY GREENWAYS BIKING & HIKING DIRECTIONS
Take the Canal Towpath to the Michigan Road bridge. Enter via the main entrance off of 38th Street. Bike racks can be found near the main entrance and in the parking garage.
I visited the museum area with my 4 year old in a trailer behind me. I’m not about to ride with her on Michigan Road or 38th Streets. The other option is to park the bike next to 100 Acres and walk up the hill. This is not an ordinary Indianapolis hill of about 10 feet, but it’s a relatively significant slope, especially for families. Riding a bike on a low gear is actually much easier than getting children up it on foot.
Indianapolis’ bicycle blog, IndyCog, has reached out to the IMA to address their concerns. According to a post on IndyCog’sÂ facebook page (dated May 13th) there was a public meeting with the cycling community, but there were no new details released at this time for any changes. Meanwhile, there’s no discount for walking or biking to the IMA, even though the new $18 admission includes the price of automobile parking. This removed one of my favorite initiatives in recent memory and replaced it with the exact opposite, incentivizing automobile travel over all other modes.
It was not a bad idea to remove bicycles from the IMA grounds to increase pedestrian safety, which is their claim. The problem was they didn’t give cyclists another safe route. And they have not given the cycling community hope that this problem will be solved in the future. AÂ good option would be a cycling-only path that parallels the IMA side of Michigan and 38th Streets that comes straight from the towpath. Connect it with bicycle-friendly 42nd Street with highly visible intersection markings. There may be other ways that would also work. I just hope these options are considered and put into action, because I’m not the only person who’s consideringÂ droppingÂ my membership due to this issue.